'Bombay High Court should not have interfered on Haji Ali Dargah': AIMIM leader to approach SC

In a landmark judgement, the Bombay High Court on Friday lifted the the ban on entry of women into the inner sanctum of Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai, reported CNN News18.

The court also said that the state and the Haji Ali Trust together will have to ensure protection of female worshipers.

A two-judge division bench of the HC, comprising Justice V M Kanade AMD and Justice Revati Mohite Dhere, declared that the ban on female worshipers was violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. Under the said Articles, a person is guaranteed equality before law and has the fundamental right to practice any religion he or she wants. They prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion, gender and so on, and provide freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.

The court has, however, stayed its order for six weeks following a plea by Haji Ali Dargah Trust, which wants to challenge it in the Supreme Court.

According to Indian Express , a Public Interest Litigation was filed on 28 July, by women activists Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman from the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, challenging the ban on the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the city’s Haji Ali Dargah.

Zakia Soman, one of the petitioners, has said that the high court's judgement will go a long way in helping the Muslim woman's flight, as reported by CNN News 18.

Soman said they were overwhelmed by the decision. "We are overjoyed and overwhelmed. We are waiting for the feeling to sink in. So, it is a historic judgement and we welcome it whole heartedly and we are so grateful that the muslim women, the ordinary muslim women have got justice. We are extremely happy at the way the judgement has come," she said.

On the court ordering the stay, she said, "We have already won and we are democratic people and we recognise the democratic right of the other party to challenge the verdict and go to the higher court.

"Unlike them, we will not like to come in the way of their democratic rights. But the Bombay High Court verdict is in our favour. It has restored the gender justice principles as found in the Quran as well as in the Constitution of India. It is a victory for the women all over the country and nothing can take away from that."

Trupti Desai, gender-rights activist, who has led a campaign for allowing entry  to women at places of worship, said the decision of the high court is "historic". "The right which was given to women since 1950s was not implemented properly. Women were not allowed to enter the shrine. We welcome the High Court order and it is a big win for women.

"It is a victory of all women and Bhumata brigade against patriarchial thinking. We wil be going to the shrine on Sunday after the court order is available online tomorrow," she said.

The Supreme Court should follow the high court order and entry of women to the Sabrimala temple also should be allowed, Desai demanded, adding, "we will not let anyone snatch our rights".

The PIL stated that gender justice is inherent in Quran and the decision contravenes the Hadith, which proves that there is no prohibition on women visiting graves.

The Haji Ali Trust, the defendants in this case, had upheld the ban, arguing that women in close proximity to the tomb of a male saint, was against Islam and would be considered a sin, as reported by DNA.

"Women are not allowed inside mosques in Saudi Arabia. They are given a separate place to pray. We (trust) have not barred women. It is simply regulated for their safety. The trust not only administers the dargah but also manages the affairs of the religion," advocate Shoaib Memon told DNA.

The report added that the state government had told the court that women should be barred from entering the inner sanctorum of the dargah only if it was so enshrined in the Quran. "The ban on women's entry cannot be justified on the basis of an expert's interpretation of the Quran," advocate general Shrihari Aney had argued.

ordjud by Firstpost on Scribd

With inputs from agencies.

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Updated Date: Aug 26, 2016 13:26:56 IST

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